What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa – better known as "bulimia" – is an eating disorder characterized by patterns of bingeing (consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time) and purging (eliminating calories consumed). Bulimia is a debilitating condition that is commonly accompanied one or more serious mental health conditions.

Bulimia Nervosa Health Risks

There are many serious health risks associated with bulimia. Bingeing and purging, particularly recurrent and/or chronic episodes, have profound negative effects on the body’s systems.

Symptoms & Warning Signs of Bulimia

Bulimia (bingeing and purging) is an isolating, secretive illness that prevents many people from enjoying a full and rewarding life. We share the more common symptoms and warning signs for bulimia.

  • Bingeing more than one time per week
  • Purging more than one time per week
  • Bradycardia and orthostasis

What Causes Bulimia?

There is no one cause of bulimia. A number of different biological, psychological and sociocultural factors contribute to the development of this condition.

Types of Treatment at ERC

If you are interested in learning more about treatment for eating disorders, including bulimia, we can help. Our eating disorder treatment centers across the nation provide specialized bulimia treatment for diverse patients of all ages and at all levels of care.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a level of care where the individual lives at the treatment center full-time. Individuals who benefit from inpatient treatment are experiencing medical instability because of their eating disorder symptoms.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is, like inpatient treatment, a level of care where the individual lives at the treatment center full-time; however, the individual is medically stable and needs less medical monitoring. Individuals who benefit from residential treatment often need round-the-clock support to maintain new, recovery-focused behaviors.

Partial Hospitalization Treatment

Partial Hospitalization (PHP) treatment allows patients to engage in intensive treatment while still living in their familiar home environment. By spending 10 hours per day in treatment, patients are able to continue establishing new patterns of behavior; by going home at night, they are able to practice implementing their new skills in real time.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment allows patients to participate fully in their work or school schedules while still receiving therapeutic support three hours per day, three times per week. IOP provides a supportive way for patients to transition into typical routines and responsibilities.


Get Help at Our Bulimia Treatment and Recovery Center

While bulimia is a very serious illness, the good news is that bulimia can be treated. Without treatment, those suffering with bulimia will experience serious health risks that can have long-lasting effects. We encourage you to call us at 866-735-6457 so we can help you or your loved one begin the healing process.

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Learn More About Bulimia Nervosa

What is bulimia?

Although research about bulimia is ongoing, there is a lot you can learn about this eating disorder to understand how to get help or help a loved one. Learn more about bulimia, including the causes, symptoms and available treatment options.

What causes bulimia?

As with other eating disorders, bulimia has no singular cause. However, the evolving scientific literature suggests that this pattern of disordered eating develops from a complex interplay between genetic, psychological and sociocultural factors.

What are the health risks associated with bulimia?

There are many health risks associated with bulimia. Learn about the short-term and long-term risks to understand the effects of this disorder.

How is bulimia treated?

Bulimia treatment is unique to each patient’s needs. Medical stabilization, psychiatric stabilization, nutritional rehabilitation and weight restoration (when appropriate) are considered when determining a patient’s treatment plan.

Learn about bulimia facts and statistics.

There are many misconceptions about bulimia, including the fact that it is simply vomiting after meals.

Do I have Bulimia? Take our Bulimia Quiz.

If you or a loved one struggle with some of the symptoms described here, it may be worth speaking with a clinician and considering treatment options.

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